Thursday, December 13, 2018

It's that time of the year! Voting for the Year End Talent Countdown is now open!

For the last three years, The Wrestling Deep End has closed out the year with a countdown of the Top 10 wrestlers of the year as voted on by you, the incredible readers of this blog. This year we're expanding things though as we will officially build a Top 100 list of wrestlers! Only the Top 10 will get the detailed entries you see every year, but as part of the event, we will also run down numbers 100 to numbers 11, in order, with highlighted comments from you, the voters.

Here's how the process works: 

  • You make a list of every wrestler you've enjoyed from the calendar year 2018. The list can be as short as twenty (20) talents or as long as one hundred (100). Your favorite wrestler is ranked first, going all the way down to one hundred. 
  • Ranks should be based on entertainment factor inside the ring. It does not need to be rated on nebulous conceits of what makes a good or bad match, but all rating should be based on things that happen in front of the crowd at the venue. 
  • The list covers both male and female wrestlers.
  • Talent from any promotion in the world is eligible, as long as they wrestled in the calendar year 2018. 
  • Tag teams must be separated. If you feel like a tag team is on equal footing for the year, you may lump them together. If you feel one talent has brought more to the team than the other, you may put any number of other talents between them. But all tag teams must be separated. 
  • I encourage the support of local independents in the list. If your local indie features talent rarely seen elsewhere but that you consider top tier even if only in that indie, vote for them as such. If you want to eschew every major televised promotion in favor of smaller local companies or the affiliates or whatever, feel free. This list is as much about recognizing talented stars wherever they may come than solidifying the star power of the world's top stars in their top promotions. 
  • Commentary on talents you choose is greatly appreciated and will likely be featured on their vote page. (In the case of #11 through 100, it might often be the only text for each.) This is a chance to share why you think each talent deserves the position you've given them. 
  • All votes should be sent to wwfmegs{at} or left as a comment on this post. 
That looks like a lot of rules, but it's really not. Just send in your lists between now and Christmas Day. The list will launch just a few days later starting with #100 and counting all the way down to your pick for the best wrestler of 2018! 

I cannot wait to see your votes! 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Not even a limited roster can slow them down! SCWPro "Season's Beatings" in review!

One of the things I love about SCWPro is that they schedule their events well in advance. For someone working at a retail company with schedules a month in advance, it's very handy to be able to put in for nights off well ahead of time. It also creates issues though when another company in the area comes out and schedules on the same night. AAW's final show in LaSalle, Last Call, also landed on December 8th, which meant a lot of the company's talents were gone for the night. Connor Braxton, Joeasa, Deonn Rusman, Sensei Bock, Dante Leon, Sage Cainan and current tag champion Steve Manders were all in LaSalle, most of them working in a battle royal. But despite a third of their regular talent away for the night, Season's Beatings turned out to be a solid end of the year event.

The night opened with JT Energy and Jah-C, Vicious and Delicious, the now former tag team champions. It came as no surprise they weren't happy with the fans or the loss of their belts. They were ready to take it out on anyone they could. Their opponents came in the form of two long time SCW talents: King Steven Youngblood and Latin Thunder. The King of Scott County and the luchador did some of the best work I've seen from either man in a fairly brief opener, but Vicious and Delicious were just far too wily to lose to a makeshift team on this night.

The second match opened with Johnny Wisdom stalking to the ring, angry as ever. His opponent was a newcomer to the company, Derek Wolf. A student of Josh Raymond, a long time veteran who made his SCW return later in the night, Wolf tried hard to fire up the crowd fast. But despite his size, Wolf never really got going. Watching him, I'd guess he's a guy that is used to working as a heel in his young career, as he didn't quite have the visuals down to play the good guy. Wisdom brought the match to a merciful finish, but Wolf swore he'd be back for a rematch. I wouldn't mind seeing the kid get another chance at the promotion, just as I'd like to see more from his mentor as well.

Robin Steele came to the ring for his match without his compatriots Asa and Rusman. But his opponent Jimmy Thomas also didn't have his Sensei Bock in his corner. Instead the two men went it alone. Thomas works his student gimmick really well and he sold the vicious beating he took from Mason Beck days before just as well. He put on a valiant effort against Steele, who despite the fact that I'm anything but a fan of his gear, seems to be coming along well as a young competitor. He seems to be settling down and didn't let his desire to be a fast moving high flyer derail his fundamentals here, which seems like the routine problem of a lot of the Black and Brave students.

I've been a bit down on QC Cup holder Bradon McBride in a few of my reviews. But he showed me why the company entrusted him with the title in his defense against Shain Bender. McBride and Bender set out to steal the show. The two worked a fast paced match with a ton of big hits and big moves, but despite their speed, both men did everything in their power to keep it from turning sloppy as such matches, especially with young talents, can do. They put on an incredibly strong undercard match that I expected was going to lead to intermission after McBride used his valet Miss Olivia to secure the win yet again.

Mason paused with a
cold stare the entire time
while the kid got this
picture of him. 
Instead it lead into one of the two big matches announced ahead of time: a brutal battle between the young Travis Titan and Mason Beck. Beck is a Midwest indie stalwart, a long time talent who much like fellow SCW star Shane Hollister deserved a ton more recognition than he got in his career. Beck comes out cold and angry and never turns off for a second. Even when he's interacting with the crowd, it's often to taunt them at how much damage he's done to their favorite.

Last month, Beck decimated Titan but lost to a surprise roll up during the beat down. This month he wasn't able to destroy Titan and the two men fought a fairly even contest. Titan has sworn to make Beck tap to his Titan's Cross finisher and his focus on that move ultimately cost him the victory as he kept going for it instead of trying for more pinfalls after his big moves. He took two brutal Beck bombs and his Not-Samoan spike before Mason picked up the win.

Coming out if intermission, SCW likes to bring a fun match so it was no surprise that JP Finger and Jared Thumb made their way to ringside to battle angry Frenchman Val Eden and his new partner Timothy Legrand, a poor man that feels like he might have just been roped into Val's angry Frenchman gimmick as I didn't hear him say a word, in French or otherwise. Eden and Legrand got more offense than Eden did last time around, but this was mostly a showing for Thumb and Finger to have some fun. I remain impressed by the fundamentals beneath the comedy, as so often young stars working comedy styles are covering up a lot of inefficiencies in talent. I see none of that here and honestly hope a few indies might give them a chance to shine against the likes of Colt Cabana, Jake Manning or Kikutaro.

If you haven't seen SCW,
you haven't experienced
Krotch. There's no one
quite like him in wrestling.
As I mentioned Josh Raymond made his return to SCW and my memories at Season's Beatings. He hasn't wrestled too regularly to my knowledge since mounting injuries ended his run as one half of the House of Truth tag team in ROH, where he and the late Christin Able mostly served as silent killers for Truth Martini. As he emerged from the back to take on Krotch, he made it clear he would be anything but silent here. Instead he worked a fun little gimmick where he declared the ring his safe space and demanded fans cheer for him whenever he was in said safe space. It got him over as a heel fast with the Walcott crowd and I honestly love the idea of a wrestler triggered by booing as a gimmick. Krotch picked up the clean win, but I really do hope we get more than a one off appearance by Raymond here to fill the card. He worked a fun gimmick and I wouldn't mind seeing him take on some of the younger SCW talent. Heck, I suspect the aforementioned Thumb & Finger could have some fun with him.

Valentina Loca paid a visit to the ring to declare herself once again without competition in an SCW ring. But this time it wasn't so much her pleading for the company to bring in more female talent, but with a level of pride that she rid herself of her former partner Rahne Victoria. Val's a great talent on the mic, but I'm itching to see her actually wrestle a full match at Walcott.

With all the previous matches out of the way it was time for the main event as Shane Hollister once again defended the SCW title against Xander Killen. The two men have traded barbs on Twitter over the last few weeks as the straight edge Killen has called Hollister a drunk and a deadbeat dad. In a taped segment from before the show, Killen berated Hollister's stepdaughter and her friend about her Dad's future fate, so it goes without saying that this feud is heated.

The two men put on a match just as brutal and heavy-hitting as the one last month at Insurgency. But I realized I would have a front row seat to some of the storytelling with Hollister's daughter just a few seats away. Killen derided them more than once, but often to his own detriment as it gave Hollister time to recover from the damage Xander did.

The brutality continued for what I'm fairly certain was one of the longer main events I remember seeing at an SCW show. Ultimately it proved too much for both men as they both fell to a ten count for a no contest. Shane Hollister demanded a Last Man Standing bout with Killen in response, a match immediately made by Marek Brave for the next show in January.

Here's where I'll throw in my one tiny booking gripe, as a Last Man Standing match would have ended in the exact same way if both men couldn't answer the ten count. It might have served their purpose to set up just a typical Street Fight instead, but they brought one of those to Walcott at just the last event, so I can understand the reason they avoided it here.

But beyond that tiny gripe, Season's Beatings was a well-booked clean-flowing great way to spend ten dollars. From top to bottom, everyone seemed to know this was their chance to shine on a card with far less talents than the usual SCW show. And with a large crowd out on a perfect December night, here's hoping everyone that did make the show got to home with a few more dollars in their pockets!

SCW has a month off before they return with their next Walcott event on January 18th, their annual 20 man Prestige Rumble. With that match and the continuance of the Hollister / Killen feud, it looks to be a barnburner. For more on the promotion, check out their official website.